The primary objective of this, the 19th edition of the UK Housing Review (initially called the Housing Finance Review), remains simply to draw together key current financial and related data about both public and private housing in the United Kingdom, and rapidly assemble them in a coherent and accessible format.

To that end the Review draws on a wide range of Expenditure Plans and Departmental Reports, as well as statistical volumes, survey reports, and other more occasional research reports. The Review also includes several tables constructed from databases that are not routinely published elsewhere.

The structure of the Review, and the sparse text, aim above all to provide a swift guide to the data, with detailed analysis confined to the Section 1: Contemporary Issues chapters at the beginning of the Review (print version only) . This year, two of those chapters focus on welfare benefit issues, one examining the immediate proposals for housing benefit reform, and the other the medium-term proposals for wider welfare reform. Of the other two chapters, one focuses on housing management performance issues, while the other explores the implications of the ‘deposit barrier’ to owner-occupation.

The six chapters of Section 2: Commentary offer a brief introduction to and discussion of the key developments in policy, financial provision and output, that are reflected in the tables and figures in the main Compendium of tables. They also provide a reference to other publications and data that offer further useful insights into current policy issues. This year, Commentary Chapters 1 and 4 examine the general and housing implications of the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review. Of the six Commentary Chapters, Hal Pawson wrote 2, 4 and 5, while Steve Wilcox wrote 1, 3 and 6.

A longer perspective

Many of the tables in the Review provide data over a long time-period. Wherever possible those tables start in 1970, providing data at five-year intervals for the years to 1990, with annual data for more recent years. The precise range of the years covered varies from table to table, depending both on data availability and the practicality of setting out data on a single page. Even with its landscape format, there are limits to the number of years’ data that the Review can fit onto a single page.

Readers can consult earlier editions of the Review for data for the individual years between 1981 and 1989 that are no longer published in the current edition. However, readers should exercise care as in some cases data for those earlier years may subsequently have been revised, primarily as a result of changes in definitions. A cross-check of the data for those years still published in the current edition of the Review will generally indicate whether or not this is an issue.


The Review contains several tables providing data for the regions of England. Many of those tables provide data for the long-established standard statistical regions. Government statistics are, however, now published primarily on the basis of government office regions. This presents difficulties in providing a consistent long run of regional data. Wherever possible, current data for standard regions have been sought, in order to provide a consistent data series. This has not, however, always been possible: equally long back-series of data for government office regions are not always available. In some cases, therefore, the Review includes recent data for government office regions, together with earlier data for standard regions. This is clearly indicated in the tables concerned. There has also been a change in the nomenclature of government office regions. The Eastern region is now the East of England, and Yorkshire and Humberside is Yorkshire and The Humber. The government office regions are now generally shown under their current names. However, these names are not always used in our source documents or datasets, and we have followed the practice in the latest editions of our sources, rather than impose a uniform usage.

The North West government office region now includes Merseyside, and in many cases separate figures for Merseyside are no longer available. However, where Merseyside figures continue to be available these continue to be provided in the Review. Over the course of time, government departments are restructured or simply change their name. Thus over the years of the Review’s publication the department responsible for housing policy in England has evolved from the Department of the Environment, through the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, to now being the Department for Communities and Local Government, with the coalition government having reinstated the departmental prefix to the name.

Where data series have been made available continuously over that period, the reference given for that data in the tables of the Review is the current form and name of the responsible department. Where, however, reference is made to historical data the reference will be to the form and name of the responsible department at the time they were initially published or otherwise made available to the Review.

Comments and suggestions

Finally, the editors would welcome any comments or suggestions on the current and future format and contents of the Review, and they can be contacted by email, phone or letter.

Professor Steve Wilcox
Centre for Housing Policy
University of York

Professor Hal Pawson
Heriot-Watt University